Benecia Unified School District parcel tax, Measure C (November 2010)
The Measure C tax would have been $58/per year/per parcel, lasting for six years. That level of taxation was expected to generate about $580,000/year for the school district.
The tax would have gone into effect in July 2011.
Efforts to pass a parcel tax in the Benecia School District in 2004 and 2006 were unsuccessful.
Student enrollment in the district is declining.
These election results are from the Solano County elections division as of November 27, 2010.
A 2/3rds supermajority vote was required for approval.
A committee formed to promote a "yes" vote on Measure C. Jim Trimble, Joey Baker and Susan Sullivan led the committee.
Baker said, "Measure C is about sustaining our schools. It's not going to be the 'be all and end all,' but it will help sustain funding, which is what we need desperately."
The Solano County Democratic Central Committee endorsed Measure C.
After Measure C was defeated, Patrick Creaven wrote a lengthy column that made the argument that "The Measure C failure was a Campaign Failure". He made these specific criticisms of how the campaign was conducted:
- On the "Yes on C" website, it was hard to find a list of where the parcel tax money would have been spent.
- There were no campaign videos: "...this is 2010. There's no excuse anymore for a campaign not to take advantage of video. With the Internet, a halfway decent digital camera and minimal producing skills, the Yes on C campaign could have produced some dynamite campaign videos for its Web site."
- The "Yes on C" campaign signs were bad: "The first time I drove by a Yes on C campaign sign, I thought to myself, "Why is there a giant flower on a 'Support Benicia Schools' sign?" After further inspection, I realized it wasn't a flower, but was two ghostlike figures (symbolizing parents/voters), holding a smaller ghostlike figure (symbolizing students), with the smaller ghost holding an apple (symbolizing education). Look, I'm all for symbolism. But, these signs were a little weird. More importantly, if someone has to spend more than 1.7 seconds looking at a campaign sign to understand it, you've failed."
- The "Yes on C" campaign "did little, if any, door-to-door campaigning."
Benecia's school board spent $30,000 on a poll of voters in the district to gauge whether the support existed to gain approval of the tax increase.
Election administration costs will be $43,000 and $68,000, or about 10% of one year of the tax, if it is approved.
School board member Steve Messina said, "If the tax doesn't pass, we've just spent $100,000 that we're not going to get back. That's the equivalent of one-and-a-third teachers."
Path to the ballot
The first vote taken on the BUSD school board to approve putting the parcel tax measure on the November 2 ballot was passed on an invalid motion and another vote had to take place before the August 6 deadline for the measure to go on the ballot.
On July 27, when the board voted 3-1 to put the parcel tax on the ballot, there was a technical error in the motion leading to the vote.
Text of measure
The question on the ballot:
|To minimize the loss of teaching positions, increases in class sizes, cuts in reading, math and other programs; and to provide students with high-quality classroom programs and student services, shall the Benecia Unified School District be authorized to levy an annual parcel tax of $58 per residence and $58 per parcel of commercial or industrial property, for 6 years with exemptions for seniors, and expenditures reviewed by a citizens' oversight committee?|
- Vallejo Times-Herald, "Benicia schools put parcel tax on ballot", July 23, 2010
- Contra Costa Times, "Benicia school board to vote on parcel tax election", July 20, 2010
- Times Herald Online, "Parcel tax vote set in Benicia", July 20, 2010
- Times Herald Online, "Benicia school board continues pitch for $58 parcel tax", September 4, 2010
- Benecia Patch, "Measure C Failure Was a Campaign Failure", November 4, 2010
- Times Herald Online, "Businesses get break in Benicia's bid for parcel tax", August 7, 2010
- Times Herald Online, "Benicia trustees to recast vote authorizing Nov. 2 tax initiative", July 30, 2010